|LOA||4.75 m (15.6 ft)|
|Beam||1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Hull weight||120 kg (260 lb)|
|Main & Jib area||6.78 m2 (73.0 sq ft)|
|Spinnaker area||5.57 m2 (60.0 sq ft)|
The Kestrel was the first sailing dinghy especially designed to have a fibreglass hull. It was designed in 1955, by Ian Proctor. After a slow start, due to resistance to the new material, the Kestrel grew in popularity. This success led to more and more classes changing their rules to allow fibreglass construction. Today, the class is still a popular choice, particularly for 'club' racers and training schools. The design has been updated by Phil Morrison and is being built by Hartley Laminates.
The 'v' shaped bow that flared into a strong round-bilged hull under the mast was a direct descendant from existing Ian Proctor Merlin designs. Fibreglass along with the design gave the boat substantial toughness and a smooth regular finish.
After its initial design, a few timber Kestrels were constructed as fibreglass technology was still very new. However when construction was converted to fibreglass, as originally intended, take up was slow as there was a mistrust of the new material. It was not until a highly regarded firm in Fordingbridge took up construction that the class started to grow. The firm made the boat for 25 years and introduced a Mark II version.
In 1988 Martin Services in Essex, UK took over construction. They caused a great increase in the number of boats built every year, by putting in significant financial capital and modernizing the construction process.
Since 1999, Richard Hartley's company Hartley Laminates have been the sole builders of Kestrels. They have released a new Kestrel called the Kestrel 2000, which is a stronger, stiffer version of the original Kestrel.